Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick has heaped encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria for providing the conducive environment for Nigerian Football to continue to thrive, following the Super Eagles qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Nigeria played out a 1-1 draw against South Africa in a matchday 5 clash played at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
An own goal from Buhle Mkhwanazi off a Samuel Kalu’s cross in the ninth minute gave the Super Eagles the lead, but an easy tap in from Lebo Mothiba in the 26th minute earned South Africa a share of the spoils.
“This is great day for Nigerian Football,” Pinnick remarked in a statement released by the Nigeria Football Federation’s media department.
“Just as happened in the qualifying series for the FIFA World Cup, we have won the ticket to the AFCON with a match to spare.
“This victory is for President Muhammadu Buhari and the Government and people of Nigeria. We commend the technical crew and the players, and I must praise Governor Simon Lalong who is here with his wife to support the team. He has been a pillar of support.
“I also congratulate the members of the NFF Executive Committee, NFF Management and Staff, members of the NFF Congress, Football Stakeholders and the media.
“We will begin the preparations for the AFCON immediately. As I have said several times, we do not want the AFCON ticket just to go there and make up the number, but to make a massive impact at the finals.”
Nigeria have now joined hosts Cameroon, Madagascar, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Uganda as the teams already guaranteed slots at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, to be hosted by Cameroon.
The Nigerian delegation is expected to fly back to Asaba, Delta State in the early hours of Sunday.
The Super Eagles have an international friendly match with the Cranes of Uganda at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Tuesday evening.